tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC September 20, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
lose their life if there's an inkling of doubt. troy davis is not the only one violated tomorrow. the officer that was killed, if the wrong man pays for it, we're violating him. i understand his family. i understand their feelings. they lost a loved one, and we all ought to feel for that family, but it's a violation of the victim if the wrong person pays. history should say we stood up for what's right, even if those in high places, for whatever reason, would not take that stand. thank you for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" is next. >> campaign time. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington.
leading off tonight, let the campaign begin. make no mistake, president obama's speech yesterday was less about governing and more about campaigning. after spending three years trying to reach compromise with republicans and getting nothing in return, of hoping to win over independents and failing completely, the president yesterday, in effect, called an election. he's taking it to the people. let them decide whether social security and medicare get cut or the wealthy take the hit. the president's betting that he's got the winning hand in this fight. whether he's right may determine who wins next november. plus, such chutzpah. rick perry's accusing president obama of a policy of appeasement in the middle east. perry isn't just working for jewish votes, he's playing to christian conservatives who can win for him in iowa and south carolina and can defeat his rival, romney. also, it's official. don't ask, don't tell is a thing of the past, as of today. in the past 20 years, americans' attitudes towards gay people have changed faster than any other social issue. and let's be glad for that.
we'll talk to an army sergeant who was outed and may now re-enlist. and author joe mcginniss joins us tonight to talk about his new book on sarah palin. it's called "the rogue." we're going to ask him about what he learned about palin. and let me finish tonight with the line in the sand that obama just draw, the line that could decide 2012. we started with the launch of the obama campaign yesterday and it has started. jennifer granholm is a former governor of michigan, now an msnbc contributor, and the author of a brand-new book "a governor's story, a fight for jobs in america's future." and bob strum is an economic strategist. i want you to listen to this. clinton strategist mark penn who worked for the clintons said, "obama's new tone won't work." he writes in "the huffington post, "quote, barack obama is careening down the wrong path towards re-election. he should be claiming the vital center, not abandoning it. he should be holding down taxes rather than raising them. he should be bringing the
country together rather than dividing it through class warfare. that's mark penn. he's critiquing the president's new move to divide the country between those who want fair taxes and those who are rich, who don't. your thoughts, bob shrum? >> well, you know, that's marcus saying this kind of stuff all the time. two reactions to it. first, it was a remarkably fact-free and numbers-free piece from a guy who's supposed to be a pollster. he says, for example, that gore lost -- i actually he won, but that gore lost because he was too populist. he talked about the people, not the powerful. in fact, during the period when he was really doing that, culminating in that acceptance speech, you'll remember, chris, he gained about 12 to 18 points. so, you know, you've got to look at the facts here. secondly, i think the president is on the right side here. he recognizes that there has been ten years of class warfare in this country. it's been class warfare against the middle class, class warfare against working families, class warfare against ordinary, hard-working people. he's on the right side of the issue here. and if you look at any poll,
which is maybe why mark didn't mention any of the polls, people support him on medicare, they support him on social security, they support him on the wealthy paying their fair share. one last thing, you know, when hillary clinton was deciding to concede in 2008, mark penn told her, don't concede. there's no way barack obama can win the general election. so i suspect the white house takes his advice with a mountain of salt. >> good point at the last. a little coup de grace there from bob shrum. as we finish off mark penn. but this is the fundamental question. the president's answered the question, governor, he wants to fight this election. he wants to take it to the people. the republicans say nobody gets their taxes raised. the unfair tax system we have now is going to stay in place. obama says, no, why should the secretary pay a higher rate than the boss? >> game on. i mean, if elections are about who's on your side and who's not, obama is on the people's side. bring it on. we went through phase one of
this whole exercise. he was the reasonable guy. he put compromise on the table. they didn't take him up on it. not only that, but they fought him every step of the way. so come out, take off the gloves and let's go swinging. >> i don't know. you're in politics, i've never run for statewide office. why do -- i'll get back to this. it's my standard question. most republicans aren't rich. they come up with almost half the, sometimes more votes than the democrats nationwide. they're not rich people. why do they defend the economic interests of the elite over and over and over again? why? >> you know, the frustrating -- >> why do they do that? >> i don't know the answer. i do think that they are bowing to this economic theory that if you -- if you cut taxes, then you're going to create jobs. that that zero sum -- >> so a guy makes a billion dollar a years pays 15%, and the guy that sclogs himself to work, kills himself, is exhausted friday night, if not wednesday night, or woman, that person's paying 35% or 50%, if you count the local taxes. they think that's fair? >> but the kicker is, the people -- the one who's paying
15%. he's getting a benefit, and he's going to take that benefit and he's going to invest it in the global economy. >> i've seen those guys, they're on the docks up in nantucket. they're in the yachts. here's president obama, hi lays down the line he won't cross, i think this is the line in the sand. many progressives, liberals, if you will, have been waiting for t.fs let's listen to the president. >> i will not support any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary americans. and i will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on medicare, but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share. >> this is a real change, bob shrum. the president, apparently, according to the writing of dan milbank and others in "the washington post," he was heading down a different path for a while there. he was going to go after medicare. he was going to go after social security and he was going to have higher co-pays for medicare. he was going to push back the time of retirement for medicare.
now he says -- well, here it is. let me read it. he applauds the president's new tone. he writes, "it was refreshing to see the president in the rose garden on monday delivering a speech that for once appealed to the heart, rather than the cerebrum." whatever. let me ask you this. you're chuckling at my lower education, aren't you? you will pay for that. >> it's georgetown and holy cross, that's all. >> let me just -- thank you. let me ask you this. he is not only going after the people who are very wealthy, the people who aren't paying the rate that people working for them are, but he's saying i'm not going to go and cut social security again. i'm not going to raise the retirement age for medicare again. i'm not going to do those things, as long as you guys on the other side don't put some pain, some hit on the rich. >> well, he has proposed, and i think will propose to do some things on medicare, but he's never going to propose to cut benefits for people who are on medicare. and he's not going to propose to raise the retirement age at this point, and i think at any point, frankly. look, the republicans had a game plan. and their game plan was to turn
this election into a referendum to do everything they could to ruin the economy as their road back to the white house. and the president just decided, this election was going to be a choice. and he's against things like the ryan plan that would voucherize medicare, cost seniors $6,500 more a year to get it. he's going to fight to raise taxes on people who can afford to pay a lot more in taxes, haven't paid their fair share for at least ten years. and he's with the public on those issues. so i think the president is defining the landscape of this election, much as, by the way, newt gingrich defined the landscape of the '96 election, when he proposed $270 billion in medicare cuts to finance massive tax cuts for the rich. that was the point when it turned around for bill clinton. >> and he's taking it to the people. and that's the important part. had owes taking it to these districts. he's in their face about it. he's convincing the constituents, hopefully, that they need to tell the people who they hired that they've got to -- that they've got to come around and --
>> did you do this when you got re-elected? >> absolutely. absolutely. i was taking -- but there's so many parallels between what's happening right now. my unemployment rate in michigan was highest in the country. we had lost all of these jobs. i was underwater in the approval ratings. it was like a 28% right track number in michigan. and yet, when we came out swinging and said, this is a choice, then people said, she's on my side and he's not. the person i was running against was a billionaire, a business guy, somebody who said he could turn around the economy. ultimately, people want to believe that you're on their side. >> so you start talking like john dingell, right? >> exactly. well, john dingell's got his own way, yes, exactly. >> those rascals. >> let's take a look at president obama criticizing john boehner directly. these guys play golf together, but they don't agree on how this country should be run. let's listen. >> so the speaker says we can't have it my way or the highway and then basically says my way. or the highway.
that's not smart. that's not right. if we're going to meet our responsibilities, we have to do it together. >> well, white house communication director dan pfeiffer makes clear the days of compromise are over. he's quoted in "the new york times" today saying, "we were in a position of legislative compromise by necessity. that phase is behind us." bob shrum, again starting with you, this question of a turn in the road. here we are, it's september 20th. yesterday was the 19th. i think it will be marked as the time that the president decided that we're beyond politics, that we're all in this together ain't here. yet there isn't a country that we can find here in washington where republicans and democrats will sit down the way tip and reagan did years ago and actually iron out th now you've got to take it to the people. >> well, i think you have no choice. because the fact is, republicans want a bad economy next year.
they don't want this economy to get better. >> how do you know that? >> listen, first of all, they say their highest priority, mitch mcconnell says, is to defeat the president. they then oppose measures in the jobs bill, because he's proposed them, that they, in fact, have favored in the past, like the payroll tax holiday. they just don't want anything to help this economy. you know, jennifer granholm did run a brilliant re-election campaign. and she ran a brilliant re-election campaign because she gave people a choice. she made the choice clear. i think the president right now, the only hope he has of getting any legislation is to put a lot of pressure on these republicans. maybe they'll come to their senses and understand the country's going to figure out their game. and then to go into 2012 and present the people with that choice. >> okay. let's talk about the current thing. the president's going into a very difficult november/december. all the focus on the republican side, the battle between perry and romney. but he's got a debt reduction thing to deal with, the super committee. could it be possible that he's going to puncture their strategy by saying, okay, you're in bed with the rich, looking out for their tax breaks. see how you like that bed for a couple of weeks? is he trying to pressure them maybe to come back and say, okay, we'll deal?
>> at least his game, his strategic theory, his theory of how you negotiate is a really solid one. he's tried the the other stuff. he's not pre-compromising. and that's a really key thing. the point is, you've got to come out strong, know you may move, but ultimately -- you can read it all in the book. >> i've made you smile. it always works. i show the book, there it is. it's a very attractive book. there they are, her husband, a very attractive couple there, but most important is your message, which is -- >> which is that america's economy has changed. we've got to have active government, involved government, in partnership with business, not big government, strategic, smart government, because our economic competitors are eating us for lunch. >> former governor of michigan, great story by jennifer granholm. thank you very much. bob sluhrum, as always, my friends. and coming up, republican front-runner rick perry is accusing president obama, i don't like this word, of appeasement. there's a loaded phrase from the 1930s. in the middle east. but is the president actually the best friend israel could have right now?
that's an open question, and we'll bring it to the table. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. build a new app for the sales team in beijing. and convince the c.e.o. his email will find him... wherever he is. i need to see my family while they're still awake. [ male announcer ] with global services from dell, jim can address his company's i.t. needs through custom built applications, cloud solutions and ongoing support in over 100 countries. so his company sees results. and jim sees his family. dell. the power to do more.
we told you yesterday about the white house pushing back against that book "confidence men" that portrays the white house as dysfunctional and even hostile toward women. well, today author ron suskind told nbc news the book is solid as a rock, moreover, he allowed a "washington post" reporter to review interview tapes themselves with former white house communications director anita dunn, who was quoted in the book saying that the white house would be in court for a hostile workplace. on tape dunn's exact quote would be if it weren't for the president, this place would be in court for a hostile workplace because it fit all the classic legal requirement for a hostile workplace." the question you have to ask is, why was then anita dunn telling valerie jarrett there was a problem if there wasn't a problem? you can figure that one out. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball" ahead of what could be a very dramatic vote at the united nations over the establishment of a palestinian state, a move president obama has vowed to veto in the security council. republican front-runner rick perry today accused our president of following a policy of appeasement in the middle east. here's some of what perry had to say earlier today. >> we're equally indignant of the obama administration and their middle east policy of appeasement that has encouraged such an ominous act of bad faith. simply put, we would not be here today at this very precipice of such a dangerous move if the obama policy in the middle east wasn't naive and arrogant, misguided and dangerous. >> i think words better suited
to himself. anyway, strong words from governor perry. mitt romney also criticized obama today for repeated efforts over three years to throw israel under the bus and undermine its negotiating position. of course, we're in campaign season right now. do the republicans think they've found an effective attack line against president obama? his weakness on israel among many voters. john heilemann's the national affairs editor for "new york" magazine, and his cover story this week calls president obama the best thing israel has going for it right now. and jonathan martin is a senior political reporter at politico. i want to find out why a guy, rick perry, is out there shouting this stuff. it's not his terrain, normally, foreign policy. why he's out there doing it. my first hunch, john heilemann, is he's doing it because he's running in iowa among the christian right. he wants to win iowa and do well enough in new hampshire and go on and win in south carolina, among the baptist voters down there. this is aimed at the christian right, the ones that believe israel has a role to play in end of days.
it's somewhat scary if you think about the role that he has in mind for israel at the end of days. it's nothing to do with jewish people or liking them or caring about them. i admit i have an opinion about this whole kind of politics that is exploitive and cheap shots stuff. but that's my thoughts. yours, john? >> chris, i don't know what the depth of genuinism of is his feeling for the jewish people. i'm in texas and he's had a fair amount of jewish support in his governorships. that's been over the last decade or so, but it's certainly true that for a lot of conservatives, they've been very critical of president obama's stances with respect to israel and the palestinians over the course of his administration so far. and they think he has been all of the things that rick perry says. now, rick perry today in new york stood up with a couple of very hardline israeli politicians, some of who don't really believe in the two-state solution. i think there's something else going on there, in addition to catering to some christian
conservative votes. i think that republicans in general think that israel is the weak link in obama's foreign policy. >> right. >> it's hard to attack him on a lot of other things, having been the guy who got osama bin laden, having been successful in a lot of other areas in foreign policy. this is the one place where if you want to try to make obama look like a peace nik, look like a traditional leftist democrat, you go after him on this. >> jonathan, on the very eve of when he's going to have to stick his neck out and do something any american president would probably have to do, veto the action in the security council with regard to creating a palestinian state, he is going to be the -- he will be hanged for that across the islamic world. he'll have to stand up as hard as any american president will have to do that. are they attacking him now that he will strong for israel in the days ahead? they are just trying to preempt that and pull it out from under them. >> any opportunity that they can get that done on this president
they're going to have to take advantage of it. and john's piece this week was so smart in making the point that israel's the only place they can go, because he's been a hawk in a lot of deferent parts of the world. politically, chris, this is a twofer. you get the christian conservative folks that you mentioned in places like iowa and south carolina, who biblically place a lot of value on the jewish state, but there's also something else. look who's in the background of that b-roll you're playing of perry's appearance today. it's bob turner, the new conference from that anthony weiner district. this is also a play at a lot of the jewish communities donors. some of the hillary clinton democrats, some of the sort of softer republicans, who may be on cultural issues aren't where perry is, but on israel, this is that obama hasn't been sufficiently supportive of the jewish state. so i think there's two place here, a grassroots play in the republican primary, and a finance play as well with the money crowd, chris. >> you know, the horrible story is, if you spend any time in israel, which i've been lucky to do over the years, you recognize that in israel, this debate is always fine. it's a great debate, and the idea of having a palestinian state is generally recognized as an historic necessity, or else you're going to have a lot of
palestinians and arabs living in your country forever, who will eventually become a majority if you don't separate the palestinian community the west bank. but here's what, john, you wrote about the president and his jewish support in that big cover story for "new york" magazine this week. "the truth is the white house is worried, and worried they should be for the signs of obama's slippage among jewish voters is unmistakable. last week a new gallup poll found that his approval rating in that crt and among the jewish donors, who essential to fueling money mach time around, stories of dismay and disaffection are legion. there's no saying the president's most prolific fund-raisers. we have a big-time jewish problem." this whole thing he's involved with right now, it does put him in a kind of -- i don't know, is he going after his donor base at the same time he's trying to get re-elected?
john heilemann? >> look, chris, the president has had that problem before. there is certainly overlap among the wall street titans, many of whom supported obama very generously in 2008 and the jewish voter base. there is jewish voters. there is overlap there. it's undeniable. and the president has had this problem. this is one of the reasons why it's hard to entangle -- to disentangle exactly what the problem is. there are a lot of jewish donors who are upset with the president on a number of fronts. one of them is israel, but another is the way he went after wall street in the terms of wall street regulation. another is more broadly in terms of his handling of the economy. it's a bunch of problems. not merely israel that is a problem for him, but it is a real problem. because people forget. back in 2008, before the huge internet fund-raising bonanza that the obama campaign eventually unleashed, the core of his support among -- i mean, the financial community, the core of his support in terms of fund-raising was among wall street donors. and this time around, president obama's trying to raise a
billion dollars. that's a lot more money than even he raised last time. he can't afford to lose any major bundler support if he's going to reach that goal. and he thinks he needs to reach that goal in order to win a very close election. >> okay. but jonathan, it seems to me among jewish voters, and i don't speak for them, but i'm familiar with a lot of the sensibilities about things. the biggest fear among jewish voters it seems to me is a sense of, this is a great country, the greatest country in the world, the country of their love. of course they love israel, but this is the country of their love and their home and the deep idea of american pluralism. the idea that we're not going to become a christian theocracy. we're not going to have people like sarah palin and michele bachmann and rick perry running around making this a christian state. this diminunism. they may be hickish and playing to the yahoo vote, they may have a whole game they're playing, but it is offensive to talk
about this theocratic idea, that -- rick perry, he said as a christian i'm directed to support israel. what does that mean, as a christian i'm directed to? by who? >> i was thinking about that when john was talking about some of obama's problems with the jewish donors. it's not just israel, it's also wall street. but i think that's a smaller subset of the jewish vote. the broader jewish vote, i think, will, if perry's the nominee, i think for a couple of reasons, have a hard time spurning obama. >> he's like palin. >> spurning obama for perry. for one thing, it's what you mentioned, the pluralistic idea that america is not a christian nation. but also keep in mind, abortion rights, a very important issue for a lot of folks in the jewish community, especially for women. >> let me tell you what i think about that. i think that, to me, is another one of those dog whistles that says if the christian right can set abortion policy, it's running the show. if i was a jewish voter, i would say, more evidence of this attempt to dominate, to seize dominion over this government and this country. john heilemann, don't you think that's part of the signal?
>> chris, i think it's very simple. i think that the jewish vote, the broad jewish vote, put aside the donor class, the broad jewish vote is overwhelmingly liberal and overwhelmingly secular. and rick perry or sarah palin will scare a lot of that vote right back into barack obama's arms. the greater concern is that someone like mitt romney, who could do well with the jewish donor base, that mitt romney gets the nomination, and then you have a more difficult problem. they don't have a problem in principle with mitt romney's mormonism. so you now have states like florida and pennsylvania, where the jewish vote is 5% of the electorate, where if barack obama is down 30 points with jewish voters, that's a big problem. >> i think you're smart as always. i think mitt romney looks more like john anderson, somewhere in the vague middle, and the establishment, and therefore it's much safer than these people on the yahoo right. thank you, john heilemann, and thank you, jonathan martin. up next, guess who crashed the party when rick perry came to harlem the other day? that's coming up in the side show.
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their fair share of taxes. well, not long after the president's speech, it was the very face of all things, anti-tax, grover norquist who tweeted, "obama's new strategy to divide america, get the kulaks." that was a not so subtle way of comparing the president to josef stalin. stalin used the more often known peasant class as the kulaks as the scapegoat. really? well, here's another far-right attempt to frame the president as some type of foreigner who doesn't really know america. good ole grover norquist. on a lighter note, couldn't be hard to find a lighter note than that. party crasher. that's what it seemed like when an unwelcome guest showed up at a fund-raiser in new york for gop candidate rick perry the other day. it was democratic congressman charlie rangel. perry was on rangel's turf, of course. rangel attracted some attention on his way in. let's hear what he had to say to the candidate and why he chose to make that appearance as a party crasher.
>> i kind of think he's the best thing going for president obama, but i'm a democrat. i guess i'm here for the same reason that all of you are here, figuring out why he's here. isn't that so? >> what a great new york accent. anyway, fair enough. rangel had another chat with reporters as he left the event, before it was over. why the early exit, he was asked. >> i don't know how he's going to conclude, but i got out before they asked for money. >> got out before he asked for money. smart man. and finally ever heard of fact-checking? it's something that south carolina governor nikki haley is streeting as a new concept. the past few weeks haley is looking for reforms for people looking for unemployment benefits to undergo some kind of drug testing. why not, haley insisted workers at south carolina's nuclear sites are drug tested and fail. >> we sat down and talked with them. they said of everybody they
interviewed, half of them failed a drug test. >> half failed. well, quite a startling statistic. only problem, there's no evidence to back it up. since being consistently pressed to back up that statement about half the nuclear factory workers having drug problems, haley finally responded in an interview with the associated press. "i've never felt like i had to back up what people tell me. you assume that you're given good information. and now i'm learning through you guys that i have to be careful before i say something. well, it sounds like the governor's borrowing link from michele bachmann. last week bachmann backed off her statement that the hpv vaccine can cause mental retardation by blaming the line on someone she had just talked to. she said she was just passing it along. so how do we know which words are hers and which are just being passed along? up next, don't ask, don't tell is history, thank god. the military ended the policy today. we'll talk to an army sergeant who was kicked out for being gay
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here's what's happening. an you be armed man was able to make it within a few feet of the white house after jumping the security fence just a short while ago. he is currently in secret service custody. authorities have shut down pennsylvania avenue just as a precaution. meanwhile, the white house has just announced that president obama will meet face to face with palestinian president mahmoud abbas tomorrow evening on the sidelines of the u.n. general assembly. abbas is planning to ask the u.n. to recognize the palestinian state, side-stepping talks with israel and the u.s. a suicide bombing hid explosives in his turban. rabbani was heading reconciliation efforts with the taliban. current afghan president hamid karzai was in new york to attend the u.n. general assembly when the attack took place. he has cut his trip short, and
he's already on his way back to kabul. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." a new era in the american military began at 12:01 this morning when the pentagon stopped enforcing the don't ask, don't tell law, which said gays and lesbians could serve only if they did not reveal their sexual orientation. well, president obama issued a statement this morning that read in part, quote, as of today, patriotic americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love. as of today, our armed forces will no longer lose the extraordinary skills and combat experience of so many gay and lesbian service members. and today, as commander in chief, i want those who were discharged under this law to know that your country deeply values your service. stacy vasquez was an army
sergeant first class who was discharged after being outed, if you will, and aubry sarbas also served in the united states army and is now the executive director of the service members legal defense fund, a great organization that has been working to end don't ask, don't tell. this is a great day for america, i think. and what i find interesting is how little rebellion there is against this right, left, or center right now, stacy. aren't you amazed, after all these years of enforcing what was basically a clinton-era compromise, now people are willing to move on. >> i think the service members were ready. they were ready for this to happen. and today gay and lesbian and bisexual service members showed up for work. they were still the same doctors. they were still the same linguists. they were still the same people. >> lass anybody done anything today in terms of making a statement, things that we'll perhaps hear in the days ahead? >> i haven't heard any negative statements. >> well, just by people who had been closeted and said, i don't have to do that anymore.
>> absolutely, people have come out today, and said, they are gay, and even told their parents today. >> that's pretty emotional. that's something. what do you make of that? they now have the law on their side, so they can tell mom and dad. that's sort of different. >> i think what's really important, here, chris, is that these service members came out today who elected to do so. but there was no penalty. they did so without any risk of being fired because they spoke to their sexual orientation. some service members elected not to come out today. >> that's very interesting. >> some may come out next week or next year. but the important thing is they no longer have to lie about who they are. and what's truly important is that we got rid of a very discriminatory law. and for that, we owe a great deal of gratitude to the chairman of the joint chiefs, admiral mullen, to secretary gates, the defense secretary, and to president obama. had it not been for those three individuals, we would not be celebrating the repeal of don't ask, don't tell today. >> what must be interesting is the -- well, you've been in this
society. are you going to reup? >> i am. i'm actually in the process. i'm taking my physical next week. >> how about you, aubrey? you going back in? >> i don't think i meet the current age requirement. >> what is phenomenal, and people watch this show, we have gay people that watch this show, and i certainly hope we have a whole bunch of them, but it seems to me what's fascinating now is the society. people who go to the board room with their fellow officers, people that are down in the mess hall, people that are going out this weekend and talking about their last weekend. now other people can go up to them and say, what are you doing this weekend? you can ask a fellow member that you think might be gay, and you can say, what are you doing this weekend, damn it, i'll tell you what i'm doing. it works both ways. there isn't going to be this fear of apprehending people or scaring people or intimidating. you want to know what i'm doing this week, i'm going to go out with joe this weekend, or mary. and you can actually say it now and quickly respond and it clears the air. >> it's really a weight lifted off of service members that didn't need to be there. i'm so happy that they will feel
safe and secure and be able to go out and do their job and serve our country. >> and to your point, it builds even greater trust and camaraderie that you can be honest every day about who you are. you no longer have to lie about a very important part of your life. >> yeah. well, let me ask you about the military's reaction from viewers saying -- well, let me go to aubrey, because you've been having to lobby this thing and fight it. >> with stacy, and with many, many service members. >> i've known you forever. well, let me ask you about the opposition for the marine corps. that was at the high, the top, the marine chief of staff. >> you're talking about then general pace. >> yeah. and fair enough, this is what his position was, that's his honest position, or opposition to this. does that remain at the high level? is there some people who say at the top, we shouldn't be doing this? >> no, absolutely not. what we saw when the certification, and by that i mean, the chairman of the joint chiefs, the secretary of the defense, and commander in chief certified to congress that the services were ready for this change.
admiral mullen made that certification in consultation with all of his colleagues. all the other chiefs. and they went up to testify on capitol hill and the chief said they had surveyed the troops, they had done the education, the training, and the force was ready for this change. >> and stacy, your sense is that that was a fair review? that they really did check it out with the troops in the officer corps? >> i think it was the most thorough review they could do, and i think that the training they did was very effective. and i think that young service members have changed their minds. and they've helped bring other pem along with them. >> excuse me, the argument has been the young kid, the young 17-year-old recruit from a rural background that doesn't get exposed to a lot of conversations, like we're having here, fair enough. that's the background. that he would be intimidated, that he would be stopped from being a good soldier. >> the reality is, chris, these kids came from the civilian sector. and all the polling that we've seen, we know that the american
people have changed since don't ask, don't tell became a law 18 years ago. at that time, only 50% of americans supported open service for gays and lesbians. today, that figure is 80%. so our country has changed, our military is stronger, and we are better for the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. >> congratulations, buddy. this guy. this guy. how long has he made this fight. thank you, stacy. and you, back in uniform. congratulations. >> thank you very much. >> it's good for our country. thank you, stacy vazquez. what's your rank and will you be getting a promotion out of this? >> i don't know if i'm getting a promotion out of this. >> maybe get commission out of this. thank you, stacy vazquez. up next, what did author joe mcginniss learn by moving in next door to sarah palin? i've been so curious about this for months. i've always looked up to joe mcginniss. i want to know what he actually learned about this woman, who almost, had conditions been different, been vice president. let's find out. the name of the book he wrote "the rogue," is coming up next.
there she is, the former governor of alaska. this is "hardball," only on msnbc. if you don't have that thing that fills your heart and your soul, you're missing that part of your life that just fulfills you. ♪ [ male announcer ] for us at humana, relationships matter too. the better we know you, the better we can help you choose the right medicare plan. that's why humana agents sit down with you to figure out your medicare options. and we have nurses you can call anytime, even at 3 a.m. because when you're on the right humana medicare plan and taking good care of yourself, then you can be there for the people who matter most. [ grandma ] my family is my joy, my hope... they are my heart. it's the reason we get out of bed in the morning... [ grandpa ] the reason we fall into bed at night sometimes. [ grandma ] yes. that's right. [ male announcer ] humana.
well, here's a serious update on that death row case down in georgia. the state pardons board rejected clemency for death row inmate troy davis. davis was convicted of killing an off-duty police officer way back in 1989. since then seven of nine witnesses have recanted their testimony, and some high-profile individuals including former president jimmy carter and reverend al sharpton have taken up davis' case and his cause. davis is set to be executed tomorrow evening at 7:00 eastern by lethal injection. we'll be right back. the postal service is critical to our economy-- delivering mail, medicine and packages. yet they're closing thousands of offices,
slashing service, and want to lay off over 100,000 workers. the postal service is recording financial losses, but not for reasons you might think. the problem ? a burden no other agency or company bears. a 2006 law that drains 5 billion a year from post-office revenue while the postal service is forced to overpay billions more into federal accounts. congress created this problem, and congress can fix it. [ jennifer ] and i'm jennifer northcutt. opening a restaurant is utterly terrifying.
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we're back. the latest book on sarah palin has everyone buzzing. it's sparked a lot of noise out there. author joe mcginniss moved next door to sarah palin back in may of 2010 to begin researching the book. he's come away with some revelations about the darling of the tea party. joining me right now is the man himself, joe mcginniss, the author of "the rogue: searching for the real sarah palin." joe, thank you so much. you're one of the world's -- i think you've been a great journalist all these years, a great crime reporter. i guess i'm asking you to do something i've not been able to figure out. what is the reason that we talk about sarah palin? what gives her that on-stage, i guess they call it sparkle, pizzazz, charisma? what is that thing in her that gets people interested in her? >> well, she's a natural-born entertainer, chris. you know, she has charisma. she can deliver a great speech to the proper audience, as long as someone writes it for her, and she's capable of saying just about anything at any time.
so this unpredictability, we watch her as if we watch someone walking across a tightrope, wondering if they're ever going to get to the other side. >> well, you quote several people in the book, throughout the book, as saying, that they push hard to get what they want. in fact, you write palin learned this from her father, chuck heath. you write, "they were bullies, essentially that's what sarah and her cohorts are today. she learned from her father. if someone disagrees with you or does something that you don't like, annihilate first, ask questions later. nd complete disregard for from chuck, her father. and inherent in her persona." you talk about her husband todd. what did he say to you that day that gave you the sense that he was threatening you? >> he said when he walked across my lawn to ask me who i was and what i was doing there, and i told him that i was renting the house that he had formerly rented.
he had moved out -- the palins rented that house until a few months before i moved in. then they vacated it, so the woman who owned it rented it to me. he didn't feel i had a right to be there, and he said we will just see how long you stay here. and he shook his finger in my face, and he walked back across the lawn and two hours later sarah had a post on facebook in which she made hysterical accusations about me. you know, i learned a lot about sarah palin from living next door to her, not from what i learned directly but from her reaction to my being there. i learned that she has no control over her powerful negative emotions. i learned that she will tell malicious lies about people, as she did about me. i learned that she has a remarkable capacity to incite hatred on the part of her followers, and i learned that she will do anything to get her
way. >> what is this when she said in that posting you mentioned there? she said she accused you of overlooking her daughter's bedroom, of being a creepy sort of stalker. she accused you of looking into her little garden, she describes it, as if sort of placed there, and then my family's swimming hole. she's making you look like some creep who is almost dangerous, and do you think she was inciting people to hurt you or what? >> yes. this is what i mean by the malicious lies. my house didn't overlook anybody's bedroom, and she doesn't have a garden, and they don't have a swimming hole, but she'll just say anything when she's on one of her temperamental tears, and i happened to be on the receiving end of that side. todd, her husband, is the same way. he'll say anything. he came out with a statement about my book last week that he said that i was obsessed with his wife. it's really hard for me to believe that these people
actually think that themselves, but they don't hesitate to say it, and that stirs up a lot of the unstable extreme right wing followers. now, sarah palin was not directly tied to gabrielle giffords. we all know that. i'm certainly not trying to paint a connection there. some of the e-mails i got last summer after sarah made these preposterous accusations about me were so filled with hate, so filled with threats of violence, that it was a very educational experience. i could see what that anger can do when it's expressed by people on the right wing, most of whom have guns, and believe americans have the right to use them. >> what do you make of her after this? you must have a sense of her. does she believe all this right wing religion of hers. does she believe rchristians hae dominion over america, some sort of theocracy?
>> yeah. >> does she buy into that or is that show business or what? >> that's at the heart of her whole political career. that's what got her into politics in wasilla in the first place. she was in a prayer group led by a woman named mary glazier, just as a house wife in wasilla, and mary said that one day the lord came to the prayer group and selected sarah for political office. she was mant ld. she was anointed. she moved on from there and has consistently advocated the extreme right wing diminutive christianity. >> okay. >> sarah palin believes the separation of church and said should end. >> the book is called "the rogue: searching for the real sarah palin." by the way, joe, what i think she is up to, she won't run, try to be the king-maker behind rick perry. at a key moment. she'll try to run the country through perry. i think she matters. >> thank you, chris. >> "the rogue" may matter more in the end than we want her to. when we return, let me finish with president obama's new line in the sand. this guy is getting real.
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let me finish tonight with this. campaigns for president are long. we all know that, but this one is going to be longer. president obama began his 2012 campaign yesterday in the rose garden. he made the issue simple. do the american people believe that people who make a ton of money should get off with a lower tax rate than people who make just enough to get by? that's a fair question. isn't it?
it's not whether people have a right to get rich in this country. that's a fact. it's not whether people get rich should have to pay more of their income in taxes than other people. the progressive tax system is meant to make sure they do. it's whether some people, those who make most of their money off of money should pay a lesser rate, a smaller share of their income than people who show up 9:00 to 5:00 or 8:00 to 6:00 or 7:00 to 7:00 or whatever your work day is. that's the buffett rule and the obama rule now. nobody gets a special deal because they have got a deal under the tax code now. you make a lot, you pay at least a share, a minimum, the share of your income that the man or woman busting hump does, the worker bee who comes home still sweating and exhausted. is this class warfare? is this socialism? is this whatever the latest dirty word the right has got on its red hot branding iron? i don't think so. do you? and so the games begin. from here on out the battle line is drawn. yes, it's going to be about jobs. yes, it will end up being whether obama can get the unemployment number down.
yes, it's about the economy. it always is. it's going to be how we deal with the economy, how we pay for those jobs we have to create. how we get the debt under control. how we end the american habit of borrowing to pay for the cost of our government and society. obama now has a position and so does the other side. obama says he'll veto any debt deal this november that cuts programs for regular people, social security and medicare, that does not guarantee a tax code that he requires the rich to pay at least the same share of their income as regular people do. he has now forced the other side to make the case against him. my hunch is this will take a very good argument on their side. that's "hardball." thanks for being with us. "the last word with lawrence o'donnell" starts right now. there's a new president in town. >> compromise by necessity. that phase is behind us. >> a new president obama. >> game on. >> a more direct campaign mode. >> draw a line this time. >> the presint